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Health - Campus & Community

A Fitter U Q&A: October 2015

October 14, 2015

Logo for A Fitter U Q&A with Joseph Giandonato.

Another month, another round of answers to fitness questions from the Drexel community.

Joe Giandonato, an expert in fitness who leads the Drexel Recreation Center’s team of personal trainers, has returned to answer questions on fitness and exercise brought up by Drexel’s faculty, staff and students. Those interested in asking their own questions can continue to email their queries and might have them answered in next month’s edition.

  • “What are the best types of food to eat before working out?"
  • The waters of the fitness industry have been forever muddied by a steady stream of falsehood-fueled fads that cause more confusion than benefit.

    Fortunately, our team of registered dieticians can assemble sound nutritional strategies that set the foundation for elevated athletic performance and quick recovery while helping build muscle and burn fat. But if you can't schedule a nutritional consultation before your next workout, consider these suggestions.

    Ideally, pre-workout nutrition should stabilize blood sugar levels, stave off the breakdown of muscle and keep hunger at bay.

    A combination of protein and carbohydrates, specifically of the low-glycemic variety, will provide the needed one-two punch to power workouts.

    Low-glycemic carbohydrates — consisting of a majority of vegetables, fibrous fruits, oats, sweet potatoes and rice — evoke a less impactful insulin response than high-glycemic carbohydrates (e.g. sugars, most cereals and breads, as well as pretzels and chips) since they are absorbed at a much slower rate, thus stabilizing blood glucose and preserving muscle glycogen stores to sustain energy output.

    Protein is critical to quell the breakdown of muscle associated with exercise. The amount of each nutrient should be determined by the type of activity one intends to engage in. For instance, a pre-workout meal with a higher ratio of carbohydrates is good for exercises with high intensities or increased repetitions.

  • "Are there any good stretches or strengthening exercises for avoiding ‘weekend warrior’ injuries?”
  • Data compiled by Conn, Annest, and Gilchrist (2003) revealed that injuries related to sports and recreation account for 11 percent of emergency room visits and suggested higher injury risk among older participants.

    That aside, those intending to enlist in their local rec league or play a pick-up game should recognize that an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.

    We are all too familiar with the panging aches and hobbling pains associated with the day after.

    Strength training delivers the benefit of increased stiffness in your tendons, thus improving your body's ability to absorb and redirect forces associated with landing and changing direction — two common movements involved in sporting activities as well as facilitating improvements in strength, power and speed.

    The design and subsequent implementation of a strength training program hinges on a thorough review of one's medical and injury history and a fitness assessment that includes a movement screening to ascertain injury risks and the muscular imbalances that precipitate them.

    These services can be provided to students, faculty and staff members at a discount through the Recreation Center.

  • "Is there a good rule for how much or how little water you should drink during exercise?"
  • It is recommended that individuals participating in exercise consume three to eight fluid ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes when exercising for less than an hour. Those engaging in physical activity beyond 60 minutes should consume three to eight fluid ounces of a sports beverage or a five to eight percent carbohydrate mixture containing electrolytes every 15 to 20 minutes after that.

    Temperature, humidity and whether you did some physical activity before your exercise are of critical importance and should also be considered.

    Fluid intake should outpace fluid losses associated with exercise. However, it is recommended that no more than one quart be consumed per hour of exercise. Excessive water consumption can lead to dilutional hyponatremia, which is the significant reduction of blood electrolyte levels.

    Have your own questions? Submit here through email and Giandonato may answer your question next month.

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